Minor League Postseason Preview
by Kyle Brostowitz
On Wednesday, three of the Washington Nationals’ minor league affiliates will kick off the 2014 postseason. Here’s a brief preview of each series:
Syracuse Chiefs (81-62), Northern Division Champion
Pawtucket Red Sox (79-65), Wild Card
Season Series: 8-8
Series Scoring: 66-56 (Syracuse)
Game Three starter, RHP Mitch Lively, stymied the Red Sox late in the season, going 2-0 with a 3.27 ERA (4 ER/11.0 IP) with 17 strikeouts and just four walks in his final two starts of 2014. In his final outing, on Aug. 30, Lively struck out a career-high 11 batters to propel the Chiefs to the division-clinching 6-2 victory over the Red Sox.
Former Nationals outfielder Corey Brown will face off against his former teammates in this best-of-five series. Brown went 10-for-33 (.303) with two doubles, four homers, six RBI, three walks and 5 runs scored in nine games against Syracuse in 2014. Brown played 357 games for the Chiefs from 2011-2013.
Game 1: Wednesday, Sept. 3 at Pawtucket, 7:05pm: RHP Taylor Hill vs. LHP Edwin Escobar
Game 2: Thursday, Sept. 4 at Pawtucket, 7:05pm: RHP Scott McGregor vs. RHP Matt Barnes
Game 3: Friday, Sept. 5 at Syracuse, 7:00pm: RHP Mitch Lively vs. LHP Henry Owens
Game 4: Saturday, Sept. 6 at Syracuse, 7:00pm: LHP Aaron Laffey vs. TBD **If necessary**
Game 5: Sunday, Sept. 7 at Syracuse, 1:00pm: RHP Paolo Espino vs. TBD **If necessary**
Potomac Nationals (78-58), Northern Division Champion
Lynchburg Hillcats (68-71), Wild Card
Season Series: 12-7 (Potomac)
Series Scoring: 96-90 (Potomac)
Potomac enters the postseason having won 14 of its last 19 games to finish out the season. Moreover, the Nationals have won four straight against Lynchburg, including a three-game sweep of the Hillcats, Aug. 19-20.
P-Nats second baseman Tony Renda claimed the Carolina League batting title, hitting .307 with 21 doubles, four triples, 47 RBI, 19 stolen bases and 75 runs scored. In 13 games against Lynchburg, Renda went 16-for-49 (.327) with a double, two RBI, three stole bases, four walks and 12 runs scored.
Game 1: Wednesday, Sept. 3 at Potomac: LHP Hector Silvestre vs. TBD
Game 2: Thursday, Sept. 4 at Potomac: RHP Brian Rauh vs. TBD
Game 3: Friday, Sept. 5 at Potomac: RHP Ian Dickson vs. TBD
South Atlantic League
Hagerstown Suns (87-53), Second Half Northern Division Champion
Greensboro Grasshoppers (87-53), First Half Northern Division Champion
Season Series: 6-5 (Hagerstown)
Series Scoring: 69-66 (Hagerstown)
RHP Reynaldo Lopez enters the postseason having allowed just one earned run in his last 39.2 South Atlantic League innings pitched, going 4-1 with a 0.23 ERA, with opponents batting just .115 against him. In his lone start against Greensboro on Aug. 19, Lopez fired 6.0 scoreless innings, allowing two hits while walking one and striking out four.
South Atlantic League MVP, INF Wilmer Difo, hit .460 (23-for-50) with a double, three triples, two homers, 10 RBI, two walks, three stolen bases and 13 runs scored in 11 games against Greensboro in 2014.
Game 1: Wednesday, Sept. 3 at Hagerstown: RHP Wander Suero vs. Domingo German
Game 2: Friday, Sept. 5 at Greensboro: RHP Reynaldo Lopez vs. LHP Chris Sadberry
Game 3 Saturday, Sept. 6 at Greensboro: RHP Nick Pivetta vs. RHP Kyle Fischer